August 23 – October 7, 2021 | Geoffrey A. Wolpert Gallery
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is proud to showcase works by the 2021 – 2022 Artists-in-Residence: Elizabeth Belz, Horacio Casillas, Kyle Cottier, Naomi David Russo and Lena Schmid.
Click here to read more about the Artists-in-Residence program.
Elizabeth Belz is a blacksmith, educator and the owner of Black Widow Forge, LLC located in Grand Marais, Minn. She was the blacksmithing apprentice at the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, TN where she trained for two years under master metal smith James Masterson. Elizabeth was a craft education intern at North House Folk School, Grand Marais, Minn, in 2016, where she assisted the school in reestablishing its blacksmithing shop and program. She was the resident sculpture artist with the Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, in 2017 and was the Winter Residency shop assistant in Iron at Penland School of Craft in 2020. Elizabeth has been awarded numerous grants to aid in the production and development of her work, her work is also present in the collections of the City of Eagan and the City of Memphis. Elizabeth has shown her work, competed and taught blacksmithing throughout the United States and internationally.
What started as a fascination with insect anatomy quickly evolved into an exploration of their narrative qualities and representational nature through the use of metal. By distilling the appearances of different species into general shapes, I push the limits of what is identified as “insect” while urging others to consider how astounding insects truly are. I use steel to capture these creatures through a detailed process involving both forging & fabrication techniques.
Horacio Casillas was born in Chandler, Arizona and raised in Jalisco, Mexico until the age of 5. His family then moved back to the US to San Angelo, TX. In 2013 he received his BFA in ceramics from Angelo State University and in 2015 he moved to Denton, TX for graduate school and now holds and MFA from the University of North Texas. Horacio’s work was published in 2019’s January issue of Ceramics Monthly, and he has exhibited nationally in galleries such as Companion Gallery, Saltstone Ceramics, Clayworks, 500x Gallery, and the Houston center for contemporary craft. Horacio recently left a landscaping job and is currently one of the resident artists at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
My most recent work strongly represents cathedral windows and entryways inspired by Gothic architecture and the Catholic churches of my hometown of Tepatitlan, Jalisco. My hope is to contribute something beautiful to society, something that can have a powerful effect on the human heart, drawing us out of ourselves into something greater and higher, something that can fill us with a hunger for truth that transcends the mundane. Pope John Paul II said in his letter to artists “The purpose of art is nothing less than the upliftment of the human spirit.” Focusing my work through the lens of my Catholic faith has given me an appreciation for the traditions found in the Church including her influence on architecture.
Kyle Cottier (b. Louisville, KY 1993) is a sculptor. He holds a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, 2015 and attended the New York Studio Residency Program in Brooklyn, 2014. His interdisciplinary practice blends traditional textile and woodworking techniques spanning sculpture, installation, photography, painting, illustration, writing and performance. Kyle creates work informed by the convergence of the natural and made world, exploring the synthesis of personal and social transformations. Currently, Kyle is living and working as an artist in residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN.
Nature is abundant with sturdy patterns, constantly circulating between function, desire, growth and decay. Kyle Cottier’s labor-intensive studio practice is rooted in the metaphysical study of underlying patterns and principles in the universe that focus the mind on the transient beauty of impermanence. His sculptural work choreographs compelling spatial narratives that exploit the tension between absence and form to achieve a potent sense of ephemerality.
Naomi David Russo is a woodworker who makes both functional and non-functional objects. Heavily inspired by structures found in playgrounds, she references these forms through her use of shape and movement. In 2019, she received her BFA in Woodworking and Furniture Design from Maine College of Art. The following year, she was an Alumni Resident at MECA. Currently, Russo is an Artist in Residence at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
I create and make the work that I do to feel like a child again. I mimic my current process to what it was like to make and play as a kid; inspecting my materials, and building a spontaneous form. When I am making, I tend to produce multiples of the same shape. Once I have all of these forms laid out in front of me, I sketch with these as if I am playing with building blocks or legos. I stack, deconstruct, and pile the wooden pieces up again into something new, until I am sure that it is something that I think my seven year of self and current self would enjoy. The objects I produce are forms I envision that younger self climbing up onto as if she were at the playground, or playing with, like the toys she had in her bedroom.
Lena Schmid holds an MFA from Hunter College and a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Her work has been included in exhibitions at New Release Gallery and the SPRING/BREAK Art Fair, and she has been an artist in residence at The Wassaic Project (NY), and The TIDES Institute (ME). In 2020, Lena was awarded a Printmaking Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Lena Schmid’s paintings explore how time functions as a physical force, especially how its poetics and physics relate to the confounding experience of chronic pain. Using richly textured luminous surfaces, movement without discernible speed, and cleaving imagery, her work references the kind of slow, strange change experienced in a space long inhabited: be it a body, a well known landscape, or the cosmos.